I've been campaigning all year against the government's plans to scrap the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission. A new report from the government's consultations with charities shows I'm definitely not alone in thinking the commission offers the best model for helping charities and protecting Australians from scammers.
NO HIDING THE FACT THAT NOT-FOR-PROFITS WANT THE CHARITIES COMMISSION
In a report dumped out days before Christmas, Australia’s charities have yet again shown that they value the model of the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission.
The report from the Abbott Government’s consultations with over 300 charities clearly shows they back transparency, independent regulation and a public charities register – everything the charities commission provides.
The government plans to scrap the commission. Yet the report shows many not-for-profits were critical of its plan to return charity rulings to the Australian Tax Office and require charities to self-report on their finances.
Many charities also criticised the government for engaging in empty consultation when it seems to have already made up its mind on these changes.
Outgoing Social Services Minister Kevin Andrews must have hoped he could sneak this negative feedback past Australians as they head off for the summer break.
But just as Minister Andrews has ‘no interest’ in defence matters, Australian charities clearly have ‘no interest’ in scrapping the charities commission.
Nearly 9 in 10 submissions to a Senate inquiry this year called on the government not to abolish the charities commission.
Pro Bono Australia’s surveys in 2013 and 2014 found that four out of five charities support the charities commission.
In an open letter to the Prime Minister earlier this year, more than 40 charities - including Lifeline, the Myer Foundation, the RSPCA, the McGrath Foundation, Volunteering Australia, YWCA Australia and Wesley Mission Australia - called on the Government to keep the charities commission.
With the swearing in of new Social Services Minister Scott Morrison, the time is right to end Mr Andrews’ clumsy ideological crusade against a body that helps charities and keeps scammers at bay.
If Mr Morrison wants to build faith with the sector he is now responsible for, committing to keep the commission would be a charitable place to start.
TUESDAY, 23 DECEMBER 2014
MEDIA CONTACT: JENNIFER RAYNER 0428 214 856